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WJR: One of a Kind

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WJR: One of a Kind

Published ca. 1966
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Story of radio station WJR, Detroit. Many shots with local radio personalities in studio and people listening to the radio at home, in the ballpark at work and outdoors. Excellent, clear color film with good sequences and shots

Run time 15:00
Production Company Handy (Jam) Organization
Sponsor WJR
Audio/Visual sound, color


Reviewer: JayKay49 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 26, 2013
Subject: Detroit Had The Best of Everything
One of the highest rates of home ownership in the country, Detroit was not apartment town, but rather a city of attractive neighborhoods zoned and laid out decades in advance and lined with treees planted in the 20's and 30's...houses set farther apart by zoning laws, and the biggest beach in the world above sea level.

I remember getting WJR and CKLW (Windsor) as far away as Georgian Bay in the daytime. Also remember Norm Cash! A great Tiger.

Interesting film about a radio station very very familiar to many people over a large area.

And in the Fisher Bldg...just 5 blocks west of Jam Handy headquarters.
Reviewer: donwert - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 6, 2010
Subject: Once There Were Giants!
This is a marvelous promotional film produced by WJR Radio, Detroit, to lure advertizers. Not only did WJR dominate Detroit radio, it was a major ratings factor in Toledo, Cleveland and Toronto. At night, its signal could clearly be heard almost everywhere east of the Rockies. When this film was made in the mid-60s, Detroit
was probably the most prosperous big city in the country and WJR one of the best radio stations
with a stable of personalities, live music, sports (we see in this film the incomparable Ernie Harwell broadcasting a Tigers game) and a great news department.

I can still hear the station ID from when I was a little boy in rural Michigan:

"From the golden tower of the Fisher Building, this is your goodwill station, WJR, Detroit, the great voice of the great lakes."
Reviewer: DJason - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 8, 2009
Subject: A real time capsule
The introduction from Lowell Thomas is just weird. It boils down to "I'm Lowell Thomas, I think WJR is interesting, and therefore, so should you!" Given that I had to look up just who Lowell Thomas was, the gambit didn't work.

Ah, but then we get to see (incredibly young) J.P. McCarthy, who was truly one of the greats. All of what was shown was well before my time, except for J.P., and of course the great Ernie Harwell, whose voice IS baseball to anyone who grew up listening to the Tigers play. Everything else is damned interesting to anyone curious about Detroit history, especially anyone with experience of the very different Detroit of the 1980s and later.

I haven't lived in Michigan since the '90s, but the Detroit and Michigan shown in this film were gone even when I was a small child. Very much worth seeing for anyone interested in the time and place.
Reviewer: Rebeccca Gribbs Lawson - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 8, 2009
Subject: A rich view of Detroit life in 1966
I love the long, slow approach to the sales pitch here, intended for potential advertisers I'm sure, but so valuable to those of us who grew up in this era in Detroit.

I especially like the news room scene, where the 2 reporters decided they must get both sides of the story by 5pm. Hard to believe a news room really looked like this. I wish i could jump right into that scene and show them how to put a news scoop on Twitter!
Reviewer: Myron Falwell - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 19, 2009
Subject: Great film for a great station
The shame of it is, most of the unique features about WJR would go away in time: CBS Radio would give way to NBC Radio in the late 70's, then over to ABC with the ABC/Capital Cities merger (Capital Cities bought WJR in the early 60's from G.A. Richards' estate; the "Goodwill" group). Karl Haas took his classical music show to Cleveland, where it was syndicated until well after his death.

Focus continued with JP (and his successor, Paul W. Smith) until the late 90s, the news blocks would go away in 2006, and all music programming disappeared with Mike Whorf's retirement in 2004. Not to mention the loss of the Lions, Tigers and the U of M broadcasts.

J.P. is the best presenter possible. He had one of the greatest announcing voices I have ever heard, the other being Ernie Anderson. Proof that he was a Motor City treasure. It makes this film an awesome look back into radio history, when it really mattered.
Reviewer: elsybee - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 4, 2005
Subject: WJR
That's J.P. McCarthy,with a nostalgic look back at Detroit of the early 1960's.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 21, 2005
Subject: One of a kind penetration!
Lov\ingly made film about the radio giant WJR. The film which is introduced of course, by Lowell Thomas, who only stays long enough to introduce the real narrator, J.T. Mccartney who takes off his sweater (yikes!) AND butts out his cigarrette before he tells us about the wonders of WJR radio. And what a radio station it is! He introduces nearly everyone broadcasting, from sports announcers to women's news broadcasters. Everyone wants to listen to WJR! Fathers ignore their kids while they're at the zoo! People on train rides bring their loud radios on board with them! It almost becomes a satire. Especially with the Joi Lansing impersonator struggling with the words to 'When The Saints Go Marching in". Worth a look, Reccomended!
Reviewer: Jilly9 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 20, 2005
Subject: Includes a clip by Ernie Harwell
This clip features a clip of Ernie Harwell in the broadcast booth, calling a play by Norman Cash
and also Ernie interviewing Al Lopez.
Reviewer: Steve Nordby - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 2, 2003
A slick early 1960's film aimed at potential advertisers for Detroit's WJR Radio. Interesting that the folks at WJR decided film (pictures) was a way to sell sound (radio). It is also a look at the kind of varied, live local radio that used to be found all over the US but has been lost to media mergers.
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